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Acquisition or Alliance -- Which Is Better?

Experts on Both Sides Weigh In at This MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Event

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/22/14 -- For companies facing a "crisis of innovation," the promise of gaining complementary intellectual property, skills and technology through merger and acquisition (M&A) may seem like an attractive option. In reality it is fraught with risk. In a KPMG 2014 survey of more than 1000 M&A professionals, respondents cited these challenges to successful high-tech deals:

  • Valuation disparity between buyers and sellers (51%)
  • Limited inventory of suitable targets (24%)
  • Difficulty in identifying suitable targets (23%)
  • Problems with buyer/target alignment on post-deal execution strategy (19%)

So are strategic alliances a better option? How can small innovators and larger, more established firms work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes? What's the formula to ensure that the sum of the parts meets or exceeds the desired value of the whole?

On June 11, The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Innovation Series will host the session -- Innovation Series Event: Acquisition or Alliance--Which is Better? to explore these issues. Assembling a panel of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, business consultants, and corporate acquirers who will examine and debate the merits of both approaches, the lineup includes:

Bernd Schoner, co-founder of ThingMagic (acquired by Trimble) and author of The Tech Entrepreneur's Survival Guide (McGraw-Hill, May 2014). Schoner will address a number of the topics from his recently published book, including raising money, assembling a team, and the development and protection of intellectual property.

Pedro Arboleda, director, strategy, Monitor Deloitte. Pedro counsels corporate clients on strategic options related to partnering with other firms, NGOs, and national governments and on market-entry strategy.

Gaye Bok, venture partner, Excel Venture Management. Gaye has more than 15 years of operating experience in business development, new product development, and strategic planning. She currently serves on the Board of Lantos Technologies.

Jonas Hellgren, entrepreneur and start-up advisor. Jonas is a senior executive with more than 20 years of experience building and growing high-tech companies, including developing partnerships and integrating companies after successful M&A transactions.

Andy Miller, chief innovation architect, Constant Contact. Andy served as CEO of CardStar, which Constant Contact acquired in 2012, where he was responsible for overall business development and strategic direction.

Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder, Skillz. Andrew is a serial entrepreneur. Prior to Skillz, he founded AisleBuyer, which was sold to Intuit in April 2012, and Photrade, which was sold in 2009 to MPA Inc.

Woody Benson (moderator), managing director, IoT Works; Executive in Residence, Bentley University; General Partner, Prism VentureWorks. A respected team leader, Woody created global channels for Lotus, ran all business operations at Shiva, and served as CEO of MCK Communications.

Date: June 11, 2014
Time: 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Location: MIT EG&G Education Center
50 Vassar Street, Cambridge
To Register: http://www.mitforumcambridge.org/events/acquisition-vs-alliance/#register

The event is sponsored by WilmerHale.

About The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge
The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge is the founding chapter and 1 of 27 worldwide chapters comprising the MIT Enterprise Forum, Inc. Offering more than 40 programs and events annually that inspire innovation, MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge initiatives facilitate critical one-on-one mentoring while providing team services that increase the skills and expertise necessary for entrepreneurs to succeed.

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